ijebuman's diary

The online raves and rants of an Ijebu man in London
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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

paranoia or bullshit - Part Deux 

see paranoia or bullshit (nov 17)

definitely bullshit...

Jr's passport arrived early this month but i am still pissed off at the behaviour of the passport office.

here's a brief recap of events (in what i'll like to call "double standards at the passport office")

Sent jr's passport app to passport office.
O, British born nigerian friend of 20 years is signatory.
Passport office writes to O, asking for further information and tell him to respond on "business headed paper".
O calls to complain about the "business headed paper" bit.
Don't know who he speaks to, but the person agrees that he can use plain paper.
Passport office sends form back to me, refuses to accept O as signatory as he refused to comply with the "business headed paper" request.
I call passport office to complain.
Passport office refuses to budge and tells me to find another signatory.
I'm really pissed off now but hold my peace (as we have a family holiday planned).
I decide to use a very good pal G.
G is white, I reckon lets see what modern day britain is like.
Junior's passport arrives a week after i sent application back.
Called G to find out if passport office asked him to do anything.
G laughs saying no one contacted him.
O is pissed...

Now i have my own theories as to why the passport office has behaved this way but i wanted to hear what they had say, so i fire off the following:
My complaint is about the way the Newport Passport office handled my son's passport application. I used a close friend of 20 years, Mr O as signatory on the passport application. He was sent a letter from the passport office dated xx/xx/2006 asking him further questions about me and was asked to "reply on business headed paper".
He called up the passport office and informed them he was unable to respond on any business headed paper as he was providing a personal reference not an official one. The person he spoke to agreed he could respond on a plain sheet of paper.

Some days later the passport office sent me a letter dated xx/xx/2006 and a new form asking me to provide a new signatory as Mr O "does not appear to meet the conditions for doing so"
I called the phone number on the letter and spoke to a Mrs R, who explained that Mr O refused to provide a reference on "business headed paper", she put me through to her supervisor who suggested that if Mr O complies with the request then the application will proceed.

I explained to Mrs R's supervisor that Mr O works for a financial institution and can not use his company's letterhead as his HR department will not allow it.
As a compromise i suggested that Mr O could get a covering letter from his company, but this offer was refused by Mrs R's supervisor.
I had no choice but to use another signatory, Mr G.
When my son's passport arrived last week, i called up G to confirm if the passport office had asked him to provide any letter and he told me no one had contacted him.

I find the way the passport office has handled this matter strange. A friend who has known me for over 20 years was not acceptable while someone who has known me for just 4 years is acceptable. Mr O was asked to produce a "business headed paper" while Mr G was not even contacted.

I am not going to jump to any conclusions here, but it is hard for anyone to convince me that the only reason why the passport office has handled this matter this way is because Mr O is black and Nigerian (British born Nigerian i should add) while Mr G is white.

Its kind of bizarre that the passport office will encourage someone to use their employer's letterhead to give a personal reference, its actually a sackable offence in many companies. G was not asked to confirm anything, it seems his whiteness was enough criteria for the passport office (G said it not me lol)

I'm expecting the usual standard reply, full of the usual bullshit but they'll be making a very serious mistake if they think i'm not going to take this matter further.

posted by ijebuman  # 12:27 pm
I find it very hard to comprehend, but on a second thought I realised it is Britain, HELL PRESENT DAY EUROPE? So much for racism being so ever vibrant in that side of the world.

Looking from another perspective, NIGERIANS sure do have a reputation there though, which you and I know what it is all about, on that case the issue might be plausible but isnt justifiable nonetheless!

Tell the "little man" Merry Xmas for me, hope he's doing good. Ijebus are known to be very cultured anyways! :D

Wierd how you got my blog, and know I am the one? :@
Watching this space with interest. I have to know how this will end up...
I have the feeling they would back off and offer a profuse apology.

They also now know that if an educated ethnic minority decides to be "vexatious", they really can cause a storm.

Having sowed to the wind, all it takes is to make a phonecall or 2 to the press and the publicity your blog garners - they would be reaping the whirlwind.

Beyond that, it shows how functionaries can lack both discretion and initiative - let us not even begin to see the racial connotations to it all.
yeah Akin they'll probably back off but in case they try to bluff their way out of it, i have the CRE (Commission for Racial Equality) on 'standby'...
Business Headed paper does not neccesarily have to bear letter head of your place of employment.

A header in MS WORD with your full name and address will serve the same purpose from a personal point of view.
Forgive me that it has taken me this long to give an update of what happened. The Passport office wrote back to apologise, they provided a long winded explanation which bored me to tears. I decided not to pursue the matter because i was fucking tired and O was no longer interested in pursuing the matter.

"Business Headed paper" means what it means, they asked him to provide a letter from his company.
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